When the concept of remote work, or telecommuting as it was earlier known, first entered the workplace it was met with a fair amount of scepticism. The traditional understanding had always been that employees who spent long hours at the office were the most hardworking and therefore the most productive.
Collective corporate wisdom however has evolved over the years. Recent research proves that remote employees are not only happier but far more productive than their in-house counterparts. Today, many MNCs include remote working options as a standard part of their employee retention strategies.
Remote work: what the stats say
A report titled The State of Remote Work 20181 made these startling discoveries:
- 90% of remote workers stated that they meant to continue working remotely for the rest of their careers.
- 43% agreed that the biggest benefit to working remotely was the ability to have a flexible schedule.
- Another 15% stated that they liked being able to spend time extra time with their families (15%).
However, what about the employers? Does this employee retention technique, which leaves so little ‘control’ with the employer, actually work?
The State of Workplace Productivity Report2 stated that of the 2009 workers who were interviewed, 65% said that remote and flexible work options made them more productive. This was because location-independent professionals were free of workplace distractions, office gossip and unnecessary interactions. They were also able to save time on travel and pursue their passions, leading to an overall increase in emotional, physical and mental well-being. And as any HR professional will aver, happier employees directly impact a company’s bottom line.
Companies also stand to gain by saving on real estate, electricity and other related costs. It also allows them to expand their geographical scope when seeking to fill a role without having to spend on relocating potential employees and their families.
Remote versus freelance workThe technological innovations that fuel remote work has also opened up a floodgate of opportunities for potential freelancers. In fact, it is not uncommon to find employers use the two terms synonymously. While both these alternate work options allow employees to work out of office, they aren’t quite the same.
Remote workers are still full-time staff. This means that they will work exclusively for your company. As an employer, you have the moral obligation of building an inclusive culture that will allow your re,/p>mote workers to feel as much a part of your company as your in-house workers.
You will also need to offer your remote worker the standard benefits you offer other employees like maternity leave, paid vacation, sick leave and casual leave. You will also need to absorb the maintenance costs for laptops, mobile phones, data cards or other equipment and ensure that all the devices being used by the remote worker are compatible with in-house systems. Remote workers are also eligible to receive the same health benefits and insurance benefits that you provide in-house workers.
Freelancers on the other hand do not work exclusively with any one company and are therefore a more cost-effective option than full-time remote workers. While their per hour charges could be higher than a full-time worker, you only pay for work done. Read more on why a freelancer could be the right option for your company.